Monday, August 2, 2021

Using Accreditation to Address the "Pass-the-Harasser" Problem in Higher Education

Susan Saab Fortney & Theresa Morris, Using Accreditation Regulation to Address the ‘Pass-the-Harasser’ Problem in Higher Education, California Law Review (forthcoming). The abstract summarizes that the essay:

“examines how and why the pass-the-harasser phenomenon arises and persists in postsecondary institutions, as well as recent changes two university systems and one state have made to deal with the problem. Although these efforts are commendable, experts recognize that the “pass-the-harasser” problem requires concerted action by institutions across the country. To push universities and colleges to become part of the collective solution, the essay proposes that accrediting agencies, as regulators, adopt an accreditation standard requiring that schools implement policies and procedures related to screening faculty candidates to determine if they have been subject to misconduct findings. Such an accreditation standard helps institutions fulfill their mission of providing a safe and healthy environment where students, faculty, and staff can learn, work, and thrive."

This essay strikes me as particularly timely as the ABA considers reforms to support diversity, inclusion, and equity in law schools. Programming for students to develop cultural competencies is foundational, but successful reforms should holistically consider all of the stakeholders who build and sustain an institution's culture.

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